Govt must avoid cuts in education spend – US tech giants

8 Sep 2010

Ireland’s Government must resist any temptation to make cuts in education spending if it wants to develop the smart economy, the American Chamber of Commerce has warned. It says Ireland is producing a higher standard of graduates and this must be sustained.

The publication of the OECD report Education at a Glance highlights the challenges facing Ireland as it seeks to develop the smart economy, the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland said today.

“In 2007, investment in spending as a percentage of GDP remained below the OECD average of 5.7pc despite Ireland experiencing higher growth rates than many other global economies at that time,” a spokesperson of the American Chamber of Commerce said.

“Now as the Government seeks to address our fiscal deficit, the temptation to cut spending in education must be resisted. Investment across the entire education system is required if we are to maintain confidence in the talent of future generations to meet the demands of the global economy.

“Ireland is producing a higher than average percentage of graduates, with 45pc of all 25-34-year-olds holding a third-level qualification. These high levels present a tremendous opportunity for Ireland to build a talented workforce capable of competing at the highest level to attract foreign investment. However, these benefits will only be realised if education receives the necessary funding to produce quality across all levels of education.

“Investment in education is a vital and necessary strategic investment for any economy. As demonstrated by today’s report, even after taking account of the cost to the public exchequer of financing degree courses, higher tax revenues and social contributions from people with university degrees make third-level education a good long-term investment,” the spokesperson said.

1,250 job vacancies in US firms in Ireland

US companies based in Ireland are recruiting and currently have more than 1,250 job vacancies, according to a recent survey published by the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland.

Of the 100 companies that responded to the American Chamber survey, 72pc said they will be recruiting staff this year. And 68pc of respondents said they are currently recruiting to fill 1,250 vacant positions in roles such as engineering, R&D, production, finance and office administration.

Almost 100,000 people are directly employed in more than 600 US firms in Ireland. Almost two out of every three foreign direct investment projects coming to Ireland in 2008 have originated from the US. In 2008, US firms paid more than €3bn to the Irish exchequer in corporate tax (or about 40pc of total corporate tax take in 2008 and contributed a further €16bn in expenditure to the Irish economy in terms of payrolls, goods and services employed in their operations.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years